County of Marin - News Releases - Economic Recovery

For Immediate Release
May 27, 2021

County has Eye on Post-COVID-19 Economy

Federal grant helps to fund countywide economic plan

San Rafael, CA – As Marin County’s business community begins to emerge from COVID-19 restrictions, the County of Marin is developing a new plan to strengthen the local economy and attract a diverse workforce.

A view of a downtown business district with diners sitting at a sidewalk table, a man walking on the sidewalk, and a car driving by.Many businesses that have survived the pandemic in Marin are recuperating from 18 months of uncertainty and dealing with staffing shortages.

The County’s Economic Vitality Strategic Plan will be developed with a wide range of stakeholders and aims to help businesses adapt to a Post-COVID-19 economy. In partnership with the Marin Economic Forum, the  County is receiving $130,820 in federal grant money to assist funding a strategic planning process. The plan is envisioned to be completed this year following robust input from community stakeholders.

“Many businesses are still working to address the impacts of COVID-19, and we now have an opportunity to think strategically about how we can enhance and support equitable and sustainable businesses,” said Mike Blakeley, Chief Executive Officer of the Marin Economic Forum.

The Marin Economic Forum applied for financial support through the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration and plans to work with the County on the Economic Vitality Strategic Plan. Once implemented, the plan will:

  • support job retention through retraining and reskilling residents to perform new tasks demanded in the post-coronavirus workplace;
  • retain businesses by helping employers retain revenues and employees (especially in the middle- and high-skill occupations), and;
  • create new jobs and investments by diversifying the economy to encourage more business attraction and start-ups in Marin.

Existing businesses that have survived the pandemic are recuperating from 18 months of uncertainty, working on debt management, reopening indoor spaces, and contemplating the future of outdoor structures. Staffing shortages remain a challenge in Marin, a difficult environment to recruit employees even before the pandemic. The longer-term effects of remote working are unknown, and it’s undetermined how many workers – especially in service industries – will return to full-time in-person at brick-and-mortar locations. At the same time, the Economic Vitality Strategic Plan provides an opportunity to design Marin’s future economy.

County Supervisors Judy Arnold and Damon Connolly serve on a Board of Supervisors subcommittee focused on economic development and COVID-19 recovery. The subcommittee has been meeting with Marin’s chambers of commerce and business leaders throughout the pandemic.

“We must be intentional in these next steps to ensure a healthy range of employment options, career training and advancement opportunities, and match on-demand skills with educational resources,” Connolly said. “Finding solutions to long-standing issues like reliable and affordable child care, broadband accessibility, transportation, aging workforce needs, and providing more stability in workforce recruitment and retention are a good starting point.”  

“Equity and economics are inseparable,” Arnold said. “We have the opportunity to address inequity where economic forces impact housing, health, income and education. We are bringing the County, cities, and towns together to develop strategies that help transform Marin’s economy, our downtowns and social spaces.” 

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Matthew Hymel
County Administrator
County Administrator's Office

3501 Civic Center Drive
Suite #325
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-6358
Email: Matthew Hymel
County Administrator website